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Jade Raymond: birth and decline of an (unfortunate) dev


In May 2015, in an interview for Forbes, Jade Raymond stated that "you can't have an inspired game without an inspired team". Six years later, those words are sadly far-sighted. It is news a few days ago, in fact, that Google has decided to close its internal development teams, thus giving up any desire to fight in the field of videogame development. Despite, however, he had one of the winning horses in his stable. Jade Raymond, in fact, it has been a leading name in the video game industry for years: he has collaborated with Sony, Ubisoft, Electronic Arts visceral Games. But not only. His signature is associated with brands such as Assassin's Creed e Splinter Cell, and for his work he has received numerous awards and recognitions. Numbers and names are on Raymond's side, yet once again, despite her strong inspiration, the team she found herself working with proved “uninspired”. Almost a sentence for poor Jade.



As we said, in fact, Jade Raymond has a very respectable résumé. To date, it has touched all the leading sectors of the industry, from development and production to management. Starting at Ubisoft, she came to Google via EA. Yet there has always been something that has affected his career. Raymond has changed a lot, and always for different reasons. The desire to experiment with something new, internal problems within the company, higher peaks that lay ahead of her. But, once again, she was unable to find the stability and success that the initial premises had promised her. The case of Google is just the latest in a journey that has seen Jade constantly change company and job position. So let's make a small excursus of this path, trying to mark a line between bad luck and bad decisions.



A roaring career

The relationship between Google and Raymond lasted just over a year. In October 2018, Jade left Electronic Arts and Motive Studios in Montreal for a "top-secret project", which in March 2019 had translated first into the vice presidency at Google, and then into the position of head of Stadia Games and Entertainment, a studio that aimed to create exclusive content for the Stadia streaming service. That same service that, a few days ago, saw the announcement of the closure of its creative teams, despite having hired one of the most prominent developers in the sector. A choice that we can see how a double defeat by Google: that of a service that has failed a market clash that, forces, it had already lost at the start, and that of not having believed in the project and in the idea of ​​a person who has built his own path on winning ideas.

In fact, if we say Jade Raymond, the first thing that comes to mind is Asassin's Creed. Raymond was in fact responsible for the creation of the first chapter of the saga, one of the longest-lived in the gaming scene, with 12 main chapters and 6 spin-offs to its credit. This would be enough to undoubtedly identify her as a brilliant mind, with all the credentials to replicate the experience also for Google Stadia. But there is so much more. There are also in Jade's resume The Sims, Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell, as well as numerous awards, such as the Vanguard Award and Pioneer Award for the "contribution to the industry as a manufacturer of games that are considered a game changer in the industry". In 2018, however, she was one of the videogame executives nominated in the list of Variety of the 500 most influential business leaders shaping the global entertainment industry. At this point, a question naturally arises. In the Stadia case, where is the line between a company - Google - that failed to impose its own project and to “exploit” Jade's creativity? And where the Raymond instead she was unable to make her own contribution, perhaps failing to pull that rabbit out of the hat that would help the American giant to compete with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo?



Jade Raymond vs Google: Who is to blame for Stadia's failure?

Raymond she started out as a developer, then moved on to the management side. If, from a certain point of view, this has allowed her to observe the videogame sector from both its sides, the continuous passage from one company to another, as well as from one role to another, it may have prevented her from finding secure stability, at the cost of ever more promising job growth but, as it turned out, uncertain. We are not here to say that Jade's career is over, quite the opposite. After leaving Google and thus returning to the square, we are sure that, given his great experience and skill, it won't take long to find a new development studio to welcome it into its ranks. Yet a different choice, which had linked her for a longer period to a single brand, could have assured her the creative stability she deserves. The ten years spent in Ubisoft speak for themselves, as well as his work.


And so back to Google, and its decision to stop developing Stadia exclusives. With the passage of time, perhaps, this will prove to be a winning choice, but, at the moment, abandoning creativity for a secure income is a decision that we do not feel we can exalt. The reasons that led Stadia to no longer be able to count on internal teams are innumerable. New company policies, difficulties in entering an already saturated market, a project itself born outside the current times. But, on the other hand, some may wonder if Raymond's leadership in this period, albeit short, may not have actually paid off that Google was hoping for. Ultimately, however, we have not had any way of judging, given that Google's flagship exclusives that have been able to enter the market, there have been none. Rather, Stadia has returned to the limelight recently only for the Cyberpunk 2077 flop on other platforms .


However, we feel we are on Jade's side. Creativity must always be supported, and in a sector in which today it is almost impossible to emerge exclusives are key, unless you can offer great service: Microsoft, net of its own IPs, can count on Game Pass, Nintendo on its historical characters and portability, and Stadia on cloud gaming. At the moment, however, the latter is not having exactly the success hoped for, and if we remove all hope of exclusivity from all this, the situation promises even more difficult. Raymond certainly has a long and satisfying career ahead of her, we are sure. Regarding Stadia, however, we would like to reiterate the initial quote:

"You can't have an inspired game without an inspired team".

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